It is known as “America’s Game” or our “National Pastime.” The Star Spangled Banner is proudly sung before each and every game.
“…Baseball remains our national game,” wrote sportswriter Steve Murray. “Not because of its influence on popular culture, or because it’s at the top of most childhood fantasies, but because no sport better reflects American cultural, political and economic principles than baseball.”
Because of that lofty position maybe Major League Baseball should be more aware of things that can tarnish that lofty image. Maybe MLB should support those who support America’s Game and make a concerted effort to “Buy American.”
That issue came to light with a volunteer for Major League Baseball’s upcoming Fan Fest and All-Star Game in Kansas City after he went to his orientation on Thursday at the KC Convention Center. He left disappointed in the fact that out of five items given to volunteers for the events only one was made in the U.S.A.
For those of you keeping score at home, that is a paltry .200 average in American-made products. In baseball terms, that is one percentage point above the infamous “Mendoza Line.”
At the registration table volunteers received an information packet (with “Thank You” letters from Bud Selig and George Brett and their individual assignments), All-Star cinch backpack, and an extra ticket to Fan Fest (a $30 value!).
The orientation was short-and-sweet and he left Bartle Hall with two All-Star polo shirts (gold and blue), an All-Star baseball cap, and a blue All-Star water bottle.
“Nice haul. None were slathered with sponsor logos.” he says.
However, upon closer inspection he was a bit surprised.
”I was definitely disappointed in MLB’s vendor choices,” he says. “C’mon Bud, you represent ‘America’s Pastime’ and office a few subway stops from the Big Apple’s Garment District. Buy American!
Here’s a breakdown of where the products were made:
Blue Polo –Honduras
Gold Polo –Thailand
Baseball Cap –China
Cinch Backpack –China
Water Bottle –United States
“That’s a .200 batting average in my All-American book.” he says. “Boo!”
Ironically, MLB held a news conference to announce it was cracking down on vendors attempting to sell items not properly licensed by them. That likely means items manufactured in other countries are fine if authorized by the league.